Monday, April 6, 2009

Punishments in Islam


The ultimate objective of every Islamic legal injunction is to secure the welfare of humanity in this world and the next by establishing a righteous society. This is a society that worships God and flourishes on the Earth, one that wields the forces of nature to build a civilization wherein every human being can live in a climate of peace, justice and security. This is a civilization that allows a person to fulfill his every spiritual, intellectual, and material need and cultivate every aspect of his being. This supreme objective is articulated by the Quran in many places. God says:


We have sent our Messengers with clear signs and have sent down with them the book and the criterion so that man can establish justice. And we sent down iron of great strength and many benefits for man... (Quran 57:25)

And He says:


…God wants ease for you, not hardship... (Quran 2:185)

And He says:


God wants to make things clear for you and to guide you to the ways of those before you and to forgive you. God is the All knowing, the Wise. God wants to forgive you and wants those who follow their desires to turn wholeheartedly towards (what is right). God wants to lighten your burdens, and He has created man weak. (Quran 4:26-28)

And He says:


God commands justice, righteousness, and spending on ones relatives, and prohibits licentiousness, wrongdoing, and injustice… (Quran 16:90)

Since the Islamic legal injunctions are aimed at achieving human welfare, they can all be referred back to universal principles which are necessary for human welfare to be secured. These universal principles are:

  1. The preservation of life.
  2. The preservation of religion.
  3. The preservation of reason.
  4. The preservation of lineage.
  5. The preservation of property.

The Islamic penal system is aimed at preserving these five universal necessities. To preserve life, it prescribes the law of retribution. To preserve religion, it prescribes the punishment for apostasy. To preserve reason, it prescribes the punishment for drinking. To preserve lineage, it prescribes the punishment for fornication. To preserve wealth, it prescribes the punishment for theft. To protect all of them, it prescribes the punishment for highway robbery.

It should therefore become clear to us why the crimes for which Islam for which the Law has prescribed fixed punishments are as follows:

  1. Transgression against life (murder or assault).
  2. Transgression against property (theft).
  3. Transgression against lineage (fornication and false accusations of adultery).
  4. Transgression against reason (using intoxicants).
  5. Transgression against religion (apostasy).
  6. Transgression against all of these universal needs (highway robbery).


1. Prescribed Punishments

Crimes that fall under this category can be defined as legally prohibited acts that God forcibly prevents by way of fixed, predetermined punishments, the execution of which is considered the right of God.

These punishments have certain peculiarities that set them apart from others. Among these are the following:

  1. These punishments can neither be increased nor decreased.
  2. These punishments cannot be waived by the judge, the political authority, or the victim after their associated crimes have been brought to the attention of the governing body. Before these crimes are brought before the state, it may be possible for the victim to pardon the criminal if the damage done was only personal.
  3. These punishments are the ‘right of God’, meaning that the legal right involved is of a general nature where the greater welfare of society is considered.


The following crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the fixed punishments:

1. Theft

Theft is defined as covertly taking the wealth of another party from its secure location with the intention of taking possession of it.

2. Highway Robbery

Highway
robbery is defined as the activity of an individual or a group of individuals who go out in strength into the public thoroughfare with the intention of preventing passage or with the intention of seizing the property of passers-by or otherwise inflicting upon them bodily harm.

3. Fornication and Adultery

This is defined as any case where a man has coitus with a woman who is unlawful to him. Any relationship between a man and a woman that is not inclusive of coitus does not fall under this category and does not mandate the prescribed, fixed punishment.

4. False Accusation

This is defined as accusing the chaste, innocent person of fornication or adultery. It also includes denying the lineage of a person from his father (which implies that his parents committed fornication of adultery). False accusation includes any claim of fornication or adultery that is not backed up by a proof acceptable to Islamic Law.

5. Drinking

One of the most important objectives of Islam is the realization of human welfare and the avoidance of what is harmful. Because of this, it “permits good things and prohibits harmful things.” Islam, thus, protects the lives of people as well as their rational faculties, wealth, and reputations. The prohibition of wine and the punishment for drinking it are among the laws that clearly show Islam’s concern for these matters, because wine is destructive of all the universal needs, having the potential to destroy life, wealth, intellect, reputation, and religion. God says:


O you who believe! Verily wine, gambling, idols, and divination are but the abominations of Satan’s handiwork, so abandon these things that perchance you will be successful. Satan only wishes to cause enmity and hatred between you through wine and gambling and to prevent you from the remembrance of God and prayer. Will you not then desist? (Quran 5:90-91)

6. Apostasy

Apostasy is defined as a Muslim making a statement or performing an action that takes him out of the fold of Islam. The punishment prescribed for it in the Sunnah is execution, and it came as a remedy for a problem that existed at the time of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. This problem was that a group of people would publicly enter into Islam together then leave Islam together in order to cause doubt and uncertainty in the hearts of the believers. The Quran relates this event to us:


A group from the People of the Scripture said: ‘Believe in what is revealed to those who believe at the beginning of the day, then disbelieve at the end of the day, so perhaps they might return from faith. (Quran 3:72)

Thus, the prescribed punishment for apostasy was instituted so that apostasy could not be used as a means of causing doubt in Islam.


At the same time, the apostate is given time to repent, so if he has a misconception or is in doubt about something, then his cause of doubt can be removed and the truth clarified to him. He is encouraged to repent for three days.

2. Retribution

This is the second type of punishment in Islamic Law. This is where the perpetrator of the crime is punished with the same injury that he caused to the victim. If the criminal killed the victim, then he is killed. If he cut off or injured a limb of the victim, then his own limb will be cut off or injured if it is possible without killing the criminal. Specialists are used to make this determination.

Important Rules Regarding Retribution

1. Retribution is not lawful except where the killing or injury was done deliberately. There is no retribution for accidentally killing or injuring someone. God says:


O you who believe, retribution is prescribed for you in the case of murder... (Quran 2:178)

And He says:


…There is retribution in wounds... (Quran 5:45)

2. In the crimes where the criminal directly transgresses against another, Islam has given the wish of the victim or his family an important role in deciding whether or not the punishment should be carried out. Islam permits the victim to pardon the perpetrator, because the punishment in these crimes is considered the right of the victim. Islam even encourages pardon, promising a reward in the hereafter for the one who does. God says:


If anyone waives the right to retaliation out of charity, it shall be an expiation for him. (Quran 5:45)

The pardon can either be to the payment of blood money, a fixed, monetary compensation, or can be total, where no worldly compensation is demanded. God says:


To forgive it is closer to piety... (Quran 2:237)


3. The punishment must be carried out by the government. The family of the victim cannot carry it out.

The Wisdom behind Retribution:

With regard to Islamic punishments in general, and retribution in specific, we find that they have two complementary characteristics. The first of these is the severity of the punishment. This is in order to discourage the crime and limit its occurrence.

The second characteristic is the difficulty of establishing guilt, reducing the opportunities for carrying out the punishment, and protecting the accused. In this vein, we see the principle that punishments are waived in the presence of doubt, and that the benefit of the doubt is always given to the accused. Some prescribed punishments are even waived on the grounds of repentance, as we can see in the case of highway robbery. This is also seen in the permissibility of pardon in the case of retribution and the fact that pardon is encouraged and preferred.

These two elements complement each other in that crime is effectively discouraged, protecting society, and the rights of the accused are safeguarded by the fact that speculation and accusations cannot be grounds for punishment, and that the accused enjoys the greatest guarantee of justice and being spared the punishment whenever possible. Most people will abstain from committing crime, because of the severity of the punishment, and the punishments for these crimes will rarely be carried out. In this way, the general security of society and the rights of the individual are equally realized.

3. Discretionary Punishments

These are punishments that are not fixed by Islamic Law, for crimes that either infringe on the rights of God or the rights of an individual, but do not have a fixed punishment or a set expiation.

Discretionary punishments are the broadest category of punishments, because the crimes that have fixed punishments are few in number and all other crimes fall under the scope of this last category.

They are the most flexible type of punishment, because they take into consideration the needs of society and changing social conditions. Consequently, they are flexible enough to realize the maximum general benefit to society, effectively reform the criminal, and reduce the harm that he causes.

Islamic Law has defined different types of discretionary punishments starting from exhortations and reprimands to flogging, to fines, and to imprisonment. These discretionary measures are left to the decision of the legal authorities within the general framework of Islamic Law and the universal purposes of Islam that balance between the right of society to be protected from crime and the right of the individual to have his freedoms protected.


The Objectives of the Islamic Penal System



The Islamic penal system has many objectives, the most important of which are as follows:

The First Objective:

Islam seeks to protect society from the dangers of crime. It is common knowledge that if crimes are not countered with serious punishments, then society will be in grave danger. Islam seeks to make social stability and security widespread, making life in society secure and peaceful. It has made this consideration a platform for action, legislating punishments that will discourage crime. This purpose has been articulated by the following verse that discusses retribution and its effects on society:


There is (preservation of) life for you in retribution, O people of understanding, that you may become pious. (Quran 2:179)

If the murderer, or any other criminal for that matter, knows the extent of the negative consequences for himself that his crime will cause, he will think a thousand times before committing it. Awareness of the punishment will cause the criminal to abstain from committing the crime in two ways. The criminal who has already been subject to the punishment will most likely not return to the crime again. As for the rest of society, their awareness of the effects of this punishment will keep them from falling into the crime. To realize a general effect from the punishment, Islam has established the principle of publicly announcing when it will be carried out. God says:


…A group of the believers should witness the punishment. (Quran 24:2)


The Second Objective:

Islam seeks to reform the criminal. The Quran often makes mention of repentance in association with the crimes that it deals with, making it clear that the door to repentance is open whenever the criminal abandons his crime and behaves properly. It has made repentance a means of waiving a fixed punishment in some instances, like the punishment for highway robbery. God says:


…except for those who repent before you take hold of them. Then know that God is the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Quran 5:34)

God says regarding the punishment for fornication:


It they both repent and mend their ways, then leave them alone. Verily, God is the Accepter of repentance, the Merciful. (Quran 4:16)

God says after mentioning the punishment for false accusation:

… except for those who repent afterwards and makes amends, then verily God is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

God says after mentioning the prescribed punishment for theft:

Whoever repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, then verily God will accept his repentance and verily God is the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Quran 5:39)

This objective is seen more frequently with regard to discretionary punishments, whereby it is incumbent upon the judge to take into consideration the circumstances of the criminal and what will insure his betterment.

The Third Objective:

The punishment is a recompense for the crime. It is undesirable to treat a criminal lightly who threatens the security of society with danger. The criminal should receive his just recompense as long as he is pleased with taking the path of evil instead of the path of righteousness. It is the right of society to be secure in its safety and the safety of its individual members. The Quran has asserted this objective when mentioning a number of punishments. God says:


The thieves, male and female, cut off their hands as a recompense for what they have earned... (Quran 5:38)
“The recompense for those who wage violent transgression against God and His Messenger and who go forth spreading corruption in the Earth is that they should be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet should be cut off on alternate sides or that they should be sent into exile…” (Quran 5:33)


Islam imposes preventive punishments which may appear cruel or coarse if viewed superficially or without proper consideration. But Islam does not execute such punishments unless it ascertains that the crime was not justifiable or that the criminal was not acting under any obligation.

Islam prescribes that a thief's hand should be cut, but such punishment is never inflicted where there is the slightest doubt that, he thief was impelled to crime by hunger.

Islam prescribes that both adulterer and adulteress should be stoned but it does not inflict such punishment unless they are married persons and upon conclusive evidence by four eye witnesses i.e. when two married persons flagrantly commit such a heinous crime.

It is to be mentioned that Islam took similar precautions with respect to all the punishments it had prescribed.

This is evident from a rule laid down by the second Caliph, Omar bin Al-Khattab who is considered as one of the most prominent legislators orIslam. Omar was known for his strict rigidity in enforcing the rules of Al-Sharia (law); therefore it cannot be said that he was lenient in the interpretation of the law. It should be remembered that Omar did not carry out the punishment prescribed for theft (cutting the hand) during the year of famine when there was some doubt that people might be impelled to theft by hunger.

The above-mentioned rule is best illustrated by the following episode:

"It was reported to Omar that some boys in the service of Hatib Ibn Abi Balta'a had stolen the she-camel of a man from the tribe of Muznah. When Omar questioned the boys they admitted the theft so he ordered their hands to be cut. But on second thoughts he said, By God I would cut their hands if I did not know that you employ these boys and starve them so that they would be permitted to eat that which is prohibited unto them". Then he addressed their employer saying: By God, since I have not cut their hands I am going to penalize you with a fine that shall pain you" and he ordered him to pay double the price of the she-camel".


This episode illustrates a. very clear and express principle; punishment win not be inflicted where there are circumstances which impelled the wrong-doer to commit the crime. This principle is supported by the saying of the prophet:


Avoid the execution of punishment by doubt.

If we study the policy adopted by Islam in prescribing punishment we shall realize that Islam tries in the first place to purify society from circumstances that may lead to crime. After taking such precaution Islam prescribes a preventive and just punishment which may be inflicted upon persons who have no reasonable justification for their crimes. Where the community is unable to preclude circumstances which may lead to crime or where there is some doubt regarding the crime, the punishment will not be inflicted and the ruler will set the criminal free or he may inflict on him a light punishment (beating or imprisonment) in proportion to his extent of responsibility for the crime.


Islam strives by various means to preclude circumstances that may lead to crime. It strives to ensure a fair distribution of wealth. It even managed to wipe out all poverty in the regime of Omar bin Abdul Aziz. The Islamic state is responsible for the support of every citizen, regardless of his religion, race, language, color or social status. The state is also responsible for ensuring decent work for all citizens. Where work is not available or if an individual is incapable of working, aid will be given to him from the public treasury.

Islam precludes all possible motives for robbery yet it examines all circumstances of a crime to ascertain, before the infliction of the punishment, that the criminal was not impelled to commit crime.

LASHING

Among the hudood punishments, the offences of fornication, slander and drunkenness carry the penalty of lashing or flogging and it could also be prescribed for a number of ta'zeer offences. As the first two are' Sexual Offences', they are dealth under 'Stoning' because they are connected with adultery.

The Qur'an strictly orders the believers to shun intoxicants as "it is the handiwork of Satan" (5:90) and it will 'divert' the believers from the "remembrance of Allah" (5:91) and the Hadith goes even further to condemn all acts associated with alcohol such as drinking, buying, selling, transporting and brewing. Drinking is rampant in Western societies even though "the greatest cause of 'violent' crime in the West is alcohol" Almighty Allah, in His Perfect Wisdom, has prohibited alcohol not only for its "evil effects on the body and the society, but also for their evil moral" consequences.


During the time of the Holy Prophet (saw), drunkards were generally beaten with shoes but at the time of the second Khalifah Umar the punishment for drinking was fixed to 40 lashes or eighty lashes for the more mischievous drunkards. People are not given the haad punishment for drinking alcohol in their homes in privacy, but at least two witnesses are required to bear witness to the act of drinking and it has to be proven that it was consumed by a mature person voluntarily without any compulsion. A person is only punished with flogging if all the definitional elements of the crime are proven and it is attested by reliable evidence.


Even with respect to flogging at the time of sentencing, certain conditions and restrictions are imposed; the punishment should not be inflicted by vicious executioners and it should not be carried out in severe hot or cold weather. It is also prescribed that the whip be of medium size, the flogging is done with average intensity and it should not be inflicted on the naked body nor on the head, face and private parts and the whipping should not cause any wound and it should be distributed evenly in various parts of the body and not only on the same parts. Such is the humanity of punishment in Islam even when it prescribes 'deterrent' punishments for major offences such as fornication, slander and drunkenness.

STONING

Zina is the most deadliest of all social crimes and "Islam puts an end to all those factors that 'allure' a man to zina or provide occasions for it" The Qur'an condemns zina not with the words "La Tazanu" (Do not commit adultery), as in the Pentateuch "Thou shall not commit adultery", but with the words "La Taqrabuz zina" (Do not go near adultery)...thus blocking all possible 'paths' leading to that act". That is why in Islamic societies, there is the segregation of the sexes and the Qur'an orders both men and' women to "lower their gaze" (24:30-1) and for women to wear the Hijab so that "they may be recognized and not molested" (33:59) as it is better for the purification of the hearts of both the sexes (33:53).

Islam also very strongly condemns false imputation of zina on another person (qadhf) as the Qur'an declares: "As for those who slander chaste women and produce not four reliable witnesses, then stripe them with eighty lashes and never accept their testimony thereafter" (24:4). Thus slander of this kind is dealt with severely as it seriously affects and damages self-confidence and strains family relations. Islam is never prepared to accept the kind of gossip that is so frequently found in the tabloid papers and the scandal - mongers are punished severely with eighty stripes.

Despite all the lawful channels provided, if a person transgresses the limits beyond all bounds of decency to commit zina in 'public', then Islam provides severe chastisement to safeguard the family and to save society from corruption and destruction and the punishment acts as a strong 'deterrent' to others. For fornication between unmarried couples the penalty is 100 lashes and for adultery between married couples the penalty is stoning to death (rajm). Even then the haad punishment is not prescribed for the mere commission of zina, but other definitional elements of the crime has to be satisfied; only that kind of adultery is punishable by stoning which is committed intentionally by a free person who is both mature and sane, the accused must be committed to a marriage and has had intercourse with his lawful spouse, the accused must have committed zina voluntarily without compulsion and the act of zina must be attested by four honest, reliable and trustworthy witnesses who must have all seen the act of penetration and all four witnesses must be 'unanimous' in every stage of the act including minute details (if statement of one witness is contradictory to the others, then all four witnesses will be given the haad punishment of 80 stripes for slander).

Such is the strict legal technicalities that have to be understood before the haad of stoning is carried out on adulterers. All the above mentioned conditions have to be met, before the haad is imposed which is very hard to do. Especially the question of witnesses is the most difficult aspect of all - the necessity of a minimum of four witnesses, as opposed to other haad offences where two are sufficient, who must be devout (the testimony of a fasiq, a person who lies or breaks any of the major prohibitions of Islam is inadmissible), the unanimous description of the act of penetration and other minute details by all four witnesses and the fear of receiving the haad penalty for slander on the part of witnesses greatly reduce the chance of conviction for the adulterers as the required evidence is "so strong and complete as to be practically impossible to obtain". That is why during the life of the prophet, "it was not possible to prove...one single case of adultery" and "during 1400 years of the Muslim era only fourteen cases of adultery have been recorded" - hence "punishment by stoning has remained what it always was", harsh in principle, "but extremely rare in practice".

MUTILATING

Mutilating means "to deprive a person of an organ of the body". In Islamic law, its application is only confined to the hudood punishments for armed robbery and theft, except of course that it might be applicable to the retributory punishments of qisas. For all practical purposes, the punishment of 'cutting off' the hand is generally invoked for the offence of theft.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Errors in Prayers that must be Avoided


Salat (namaaz) or prayer is one of the most important pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) warned that the first thing man will be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection is prayer. Abu Hurairah said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) saying:

The first act of worship man shall be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection is prayer. If it was performed correctly, man shall certainly succeed and prosper, if it is not, he shall certainly lose and fail. If, however, man's prayer was incomplete, the Lord, the Exalted, would say (to His Angels), "See if my slave performed supererogatory (nafl) prayers to make up what he had missed of the obligatory prayers. The rest of man's deeds will be reckoned in the same manner.

Buraidah reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

The covenant which is between us and those (who embrace Islam) is prayer. Whoso neglects it, becomes an unbeliever.

On the other hand, Allah has prepared great rewards for the believers who observe prayer and are particular about it. Perfect prayer effaces sins. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said: Have you considered, a river running by the door of you in which he bathes five times a day; would any of his dirt stay on him? They said "None of his dirt would stay on him." The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said So does Salah; therewith Allah eliminates sins.

Therefore, brothers and sisters it is very important to be regular on prayer, and perform it correctly. One may perform prayer according to the way he was taught by his parents or sheikh, according to their madthhab. But you should always remember that it is only the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) who must be followed. The angels will not ask you, while in the grave, "Did you follow this imaam or that imaam?" Your imaam will not be with you then, nor will he defend you on the Day of Resurrection.


Anyone who rejects the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) exposes himself to destruction, as stated by Imaam Ahmed.

The following are some common errors committed by Muslims in their Salah. These errors must be avoided hoping that Allah would accept this act of worship and reward us for it.

1) Wearing pants, or garments that hangs below the ankles.

This is one of the greatest sins. Abu Dtharr reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

There are three people whom Allah shall not speak to on the Day of Resurrection, nor shall he look at them, nor shall he purify them, and they shall have a painful torment: One whose garment hangs down below his ankles, almanaan, and (a merchant) who sells of his merchandise by means of false oath.

Some people think that wearing clothes that hang below the ankles is not a sin if they abstain from doing so while praying only. Others think that wearing such a garment is a sin only if it is worn out of pride; otherwise, they believe there is no harm in doing so. However, the above and many other traditions indicate clearly that wearing clothes that hang below the ankles (for men) is a grave sin regardless of whether such garments are worn out of habit or pride. There are other authentic traditions that emphasize wearing clothing that hangs below the ankles out of pride entails harsherpunishment. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

The part of the garment which hangs below the ankles is (punishable by) Fire (on the Day of Resurrection).

It is commonplace to see brothers folding up the hems of their pants for prayer. However, as soon as prayer is completed, they unfold their pants. The belief that wearing garments that hang below the ankles is prohibited during prayers only is a misconception commonly held by many Muslims. Such Muslims are unaware that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) forbade praying with folded clothes. Based on this prohibition, scholars have agreed that praying with folded sleeves or pants is unlawful.

2) Consuming food of bad smell such has garlic or onion, or smoking before coming to prayer.


Angels and the praying people are bothered by offensive smell. On the contrary, one should wear perfume, if available before coming into mosques. Jabir reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

He who eats from the smelly plant [garlic or onion], let him come not near our mosque; the angels are bothered by that which bothers men.

3) Proceeding to mosque for prayer with brisk walk, or even running for fear of missing part of the prayer.

This may disturb those who are already in prayer. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

When prayer has already started, do not walk quickly to join in. Proceed calmly and reposefully; then join in whichever part you catch up, and complete whichever part you missed (i.e., soon after the imaam ends the prayer).

4) Saying Takbeer al-Ihram while in rukoo'.

Many of those who come late to the mosque and join in prayer which is already in progress, rush to take the same posture, while people are in rukoo', and say takbeer al-Ihram, or the opening takbeer of prayer while bowing for fear of missing that ruk'ah. Takbeer al-Ihram is to be pronounced when one is standing upright, only.


5) Mumbling the niyyah or intention, and uttering it in a low audible voice.

The heart is the place of intention. Mumbling words such as "I intend to pray such prayer or such number of rak'aat, or I intend to fast, or do such act of worship or another," just before starting prayer is a bid'ah which was practiced neither by the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) nor his companions, nor by their followers.

Uttering the above words of niyyah allows shaitaan to put irrelevant words in the mouth of the person who utters the niyyah. Do you remember at one time or another that once you stood up for dhuhr prayer and discovered yourself saying, "I intend to pray four rak'aat of Isha," or when you were standing for Asr prayer you made your intention to pray fajr instead? This confusion is from shaitan. Had you kept silent, shaitan would have no chance of confusing you.

6) Neglecting the opening du'a of prayer, t'awwudth, and basmalah.

T'awwudth is saying "Aoudhu billahi min ashshaitan ir-rajim" and basmalah is saying "Bismillah hirRahmaan irRaheem."


7) Neglecting praying facing a sutrah.

The sutrah is an object, such as a wall, or a post, which a person faces while praying. Or any other object which a person places to serve as a sutrah, by putting it on the ground in order that no one may cross in front of him while praying. The Messenger of Allah SAWS said:

Pray facing a sutrah, and let no one cross in front of you while praying. If he insists, then prevent him by force because he is accompanied by shaitan.

And he said:

When one of you prays facing a sutrah, let him pray close to it so that shaitan may not be able to nullify his prayer.

The above tradition indicates clearly that shaitan crosses in front of a praying person who prays without a sutrah, causing his prayer to be null and void without being aware of it. Even if one prays in an open field, he should place a sutrah in front of him.

Allah says:

(Verily) He (the shaitan) and his own people see you while you do not see them.

8) Reluctance to stand in the front line in congregational prayer.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

Were people to realize the value of making adthan (the call for prayer), and the great reward (for doing so) and the virtue of standing in the first line (in congregational prayer), and had no choice but to make a draw (to decide who makes adthan or stands in the first line) they would have justifiably done so. And were people to know the significance of coming early to (congregational) prayer, they would have raced with one another (to reach the mosque first). And if they were to know the great reward (for coming to mosque) for Isha' and Fajr prayers, they would have come even if they had to crawl (i.e. even if they were disabled, they would have come crawling for fear of missing its great reward.).

9) Gazing upward during prayer, or looking at the imam, right or left.

This may cause loss of concentration. We are commanded to lower our gaze, and look at the point at which the head rests during sujood. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) warned:

Let those who raise their gaze up during prayer stop doing so, or else their sights would not return to them. [i.e. lose their eyesight]. (Muslim)

10) Leaving gaps in lines of congregational prayer.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) commanded:

Straighten your lines, level your shoulders and block the gaps. Shaitan passes through [line] gaps.

11) Reciting surat al-Fatiha fast without pausing after each verse.

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used to pause after each verse of this surah.


12) Fidgeting during prayer, or looking at a watch or fiddling with one's fingers, clothes or moving feet or other parts of the body restlessly.

All of this diminish the reward for prayer. Submissiveness is a condition of acceptance of prayer. Allah's command signifies:

And stand [in prayer] to Allah submissively.

13) Holding the Qur'an and reciting from it by the muqtadi in congregational prayer to check the imam's recitation.

This act distracts the person who is doing so and prevents him from concentration. It is a dispraised act during salah.

14) Racing with the imam, or moving with or before him in congregational prayer.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

Move not before the imam does. When the imam says. Allahu akbar, you say, Allahu akbar. When he says, waladh-dhalleen' you say, aameen.

In another narration, he said:

Surely the imam is there to be followed.

He also said:

Does not the one who raises his head before the imam does fear that Allah would transform his head into a donkey's head.

15) Lowering the head excessively, or pushing it up, and arching the back during rukoo'.

The head must be kept in normal position, while the back must be straight during rukoo' to form with legs a right angle.

16) Sticking the arms to the sides of the body, in rukoo' or sujood, and sticking the belly to the thighs in sujood.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

Let not one of you support himself on his forearms (in sujood ) like the dog. Let him rest on his palms and keep his elbows away from his body.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used to keep his arms away from his body during rukoo' and sujood that the whiteness of his armpits could be seen.


17) Praying while part of the back is exposed.

This happens to those who wear tight and short shirts or tight pants; when they bow or prostrate, part of their backs are exposed. Such part of the body is awrah, or the part which must be covered always. Exposing part of the back during salah, renders salah null and void.

18) Resting only the tip of the head on the floor during sujood.

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said: I am commanded to prostrate on seven bones the forehead and the nose, the two hands [palms], the two knees, and the two feet. Applying the above command necessitates resting the forehead and the nose on the ground during sujood.

19) Hasty performance of prayer which does not allow repose and calmness in rukoo' or sujood.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) saw a man who did not complete his rukoo' [bowing], and made a very short sujood [prostration]; he said:

If this man dies while praying in this manner, he would die upholding a religion other than the religion of Muhammad.

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: My beloved friend, Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) forbade me to perform postures of prayer copying the picking of a rooster; (signifying fast performance of prayer), moving eyes around like a fox and the sitting like monkeys (i.e. to sit on thighs).


The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

The worst thief is the one who steals from his own prayer.

People asked, 'Messenger of Allah! How could one steal from his own prayer?' He said:

By not completing its rukoo' and sujood.

To complete rukoo' is to stay in that posture long enough to recite 'subhana rabbiyal Adtheem' three times, slowly, and 'subhana rabbiyal-a'ala' three times, slowly, in sujood. He also announced:

He who does not complete his rukoo' and sujood, his prayer is void.

20) Sitting in tawarruk position in the last rak'ah of Fajr and Jum'ah prayers.

It is praiseworthy to take tawarruk position only in the last rak'ah of Dhtuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha' prayers. Tawarruk is described in Sahih al-Bukhari as resting the body, during sitting position, on the left thigh and putting the left foot under the right leg, while setting the right foot upright; and supporting the body by the left hand with which the left knee is grasped.


21) Moving the two palms upon saying, 'assalamu aleikum warahmatul-lah' to end prayer.

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) saw some of his companions doing so. He objected:

Why do I see you moving your hands like the tails of wild horses.

They never did that again.


22) Counting tasbeeh with the left hand.

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used to count tasbeeh on the fingers of his right hand after salah. Abdullah bin Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

(There are) two good deeds, any Muslim who does them shall enter Jannah but few are those who do them: to say, "subhanAllah" ten times, and "alHamdulillah" ten times, and "AllahuAkbar" ten times.

And I have seen the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) counting them on his hand. lbn Qudamah said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used his right hand for tasbeeh.


The above hadeeth indicates clearly that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used only one hand for counting tasbeeh. No Muslim with sound mind would imagine that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used his left hand for counting tasbeeh. Aa'ishah, with whom Allah is pleased, said that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) used his left hand only for Istinjaa', or cleaning himself after responding to the call of nature. He never used it for tasbeeh. Yasirah reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) commanded women to count tasbeeh on their fingers.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

They (the fingers) will be made to speak, and will be questioned (on the Day of Resurrection.)

The above hadeeth indicates that it is preferable to count tasbeeh on the fingers of the right hand than to do so on masbahah (rosary).

23) Shaking hands with other praying people right after fardh prayer is over, saying, 'taqabbala-llah', or 'haraman'


This is a bid'ah which was never practiced by the Prophet's companions or their followers, may Allah be pleased with them.


24) Raising hands for dua' soon as prayer is over.

This was not the practice of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam). The Sunnah is to start with dthikr soon after salah is over. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

When you recite, 'At-tahiyyat...', (just before tasleem), choose whichever du'a you like.

The best forms of du'a are those authentically related to the Prophet, (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam).. Insha' Allah, we will publish the authentic du'a masnoon, soon.


25) Walking away right after tasleem, at the end of prayer, and neglecting dthikr.

Dthikr is reciting subhanal-Lah 33 times, alhamdu Lilah 33 times Allahu Akbar 33 times, reciting La ilaha illal-Laah 10 times reciting ayat al-Kursi [i.e. verse 255 of surah 2 al Baqarah], or other authentic dthikr.


26) Crossing in front of a praying person.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) warned:

Were the one who crosses in front of a praying person to know the consequences of doing so, he would have waited for forty better than to cross in front of him.

The forty in the tradition may be days months or even years. Allah knows best.


27) Neglecting prayer when one is sick or ill.

Salah is one of the most important pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) never neglected it during his sickness, nor while combating enemies. Prayer must be performed regardless. If one cannot perform ablution for one legal reason or another, then he must perform dry ablution tayammum by patting with his palms a dusty surface, then wiping the face and hands. If he cannot stand up in prayer, he may pray while sitting or lying down on his side. Otherwise, it is enough for him to pray by moving his eyes up for rukoo' and down for sujood, and complete the rest of the prayer postures in the same manner.


28) Praying in a graveyard.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam) said:

Pray not in graveyards, nor sit on graves.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Story of Hazrat Yousaf (Joseph) (PBUH)

This is the most detailed and fascinating story in the Quran, involving both human weaknesses such as jealousy, hatred, pride, passion, deception, intrigue, cruelty, and terror as well as noble qualities such as patience, loyalty, bravery, nobility, and compassion.

It is related that among the reasons for its revelation is that the Jews asked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to tell them about Joseph (pbuh) who was one of their old prophets. His story had been distorted in parts and marred in others with interpolation and exclusions. Therefore it was revealed in the Book of Allah (Quran), complete in its minute and careful details.

Allah the Almighty declared:

We relate unto you (Muhammad) the best of stories through Our Revelations unto you, of this Quran. And before this (i.e. before the coming of Divine Inspiration to you), you were among those who knew nothing about it (the Quran). ( Ch 12:3 Quran)

Almighty Allah also decreed:

Thus We relate to you (O Muhammad) some information of what happened before, And indeed We have give you from Us a Reminder (this Quran). Whoever turns away from it (this Quran--i.e. does not believe in it, nor acts on its orders), verily they will bear a heavy burden (of sins) on the Day of Resurrection. They will abide in that (state in the Fire of Hell), and evil indeed will it be that load for them on the Day of Resurrection.(Ch 20:99-101)

The story of Joseph (pbuh) moves in a stream from beginning to end; its substance and form are equally coherent. It inspires you with a feeling for the depth of Allah's power and supremacy and the execution of His rulings despite the challenge of human intervention.

And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. (Ch 12:21)

This is what the story of Joseph (pbuh), confirms categorically, for it ends with comfort and marvels.

Joseph lived all his life confronting schemes made by the people closest to him. His brothers plotted to kill him, but they amended it to exiling him. This happened to him while he was a boy. He was sold into the slave market in Egypt, where he was bought for a nominal sum. Then he fell victim to the attempted seduction by a great man's wife who, when her wish was foiled, sent him to prison, where he remained for some time. In spite of all of this, he at length approached close to the Egyptian throne and became the king's chief minister. He then began his call to Allah from the position of the ruling authority.

Allah's plans were carried out, and the matter ended. This is the substance (theme) of the story. As for the form (style) in which it is presented, it is a landmark of wonder.

The story is presented in a sequence of episodes. It gives you scene after scene and the transition is inspiring, informative, and stirring to the imagination. There are also artistic loopholes, which leave it to the imagination of the reader to complete the sense, as well as the depth of the picture, the like of which no human artist can bring forth.

The story begins with a dream and ends with its interpretation. As the sun appeared over the horizon, bathing the earth in its morning glory, Joseph (pbuh), son of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh) awoke from his sleep, delighted by a pleasant dream he had had. Filled with excitement he ran to his father and related it.

"O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves to me." (Ch 12:4)

His father's face lit up. He foresaw that Joseph would be one through whom the prophecy of his grandfather, Prophet Abraham (pbuh), would be fulfilled, in that his offspring would keep the light of Abraham's house alive and spread Allah's message to mankind.

Therefore, it was narrated that Allah's Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) was asked:

"Who is the most honorable amongst the people?"
He replied:
"The most God-fearing."
The people said:
"We do not want to ask you about this."
He said:
"The most honorable person is Joseph Allah's prophet, the son of Allah's prophet, the son of the faithful friend of Allah (Abraham)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

However, the father was well aware of the jealousy of Joseph's brothers, so he warned him against telling his dream to his brothers.

"O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Satan is to man an open enemy! Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (an other things) and perfect His Favor on you and on the offspring of Jacob, as He perfected it on your fathers, Abraham, and Isaac aforetime! Verily! your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise." (Ch 12:5-6)

Joseph heeded his father's warning. He did not tell his brothers what he had seen. It is well known that they hatred him so much that it was difficult for him to feel secure telling them what was in his heart and in his dreams.

Joseph was eighteen years old, very handsome and robust, with a gentle temperament. He was respectful, kind and considerate. His brother Benjamin was equally pleasant. Both were from one mother, Rachel. Because of their refined qualities, the father loved the two more than his other children, and would not let them out of his sight. To protect them, he kept them busy with work in the house garden.

The scene of Jacob and his son closes. Another opens on Joseph's brothers plotting against him.

"Truly, Joseph and his brother (Benjamin) are loved more by our father than we, but we are Usbah (a strong group). Really our father is in a plain error. Kill Joseph or cast him out to some other land, so that the favor of your father may be give to you alone, and after that you will be righteous folk (by intending repentance before committing the sin)."

One from among them said: "Kill not Joseph, but if you must do something, throw him down to the bottom of a well, he will be picked up by some caravan of travelers." (Ch 12:8-10)

The pages of the Old Testament say that Joseph told them his dream, whereas the Quran does not say that happened. Had it been so, the brothers would have said so themselves. The Old Testament claims they had lost their own rights by him, and so they would kill him. Indeed Joseph kept his father's order and did not tell his brothers about his vision.

In spite of this, his brothers sat down to conspire against him. One of them asked:

"Why does our father love Joseph more than us?"

Another answered:

"Perhaps because of his beauty."

A third said:

"Joseph and his brother occupied our father's heart."

The first complained:

"Our father has gone all astray."

One of them suggested a solution to the matter; kill Joseph.

"Where should we kill him?"
"We should banish him away from these grounds."
"We will send him to a distant land."
"Why should we not kill him and have rest so that the favor of your father may be give to you alone?"

However, Judah (Yahudh), the eldest and most intelligent among them, said:

"There is no need to kill him when all you want is to get rid of him. Look here, let us throw him into a well and he will be picked up by a passing caravan. T hey will take him with them to a distant land. He will disappear from your father's sight and our purpose will be served with his exile. Then after that we shall repent for our crime and become good people once again."

The discussion continued on the idea of dropping Joseph into a well, as it was seen as the safest solution. The plan to kill him was defeated; kidnap into a distant land was approved. It was the cleverest of ideas.

Their next movement opened the scene between them and their father Jacob (pbuh): They said:

"O our father! Why do you not trust us with Joseph, when we are indeed his well wishers? Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily we will take care of him."

He (Jacob) said: "Truly, it saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest a wolf should devour him, while you are careless of him."

They said: "If a wolf devours him, while we are Usbah (a strong group) (to guard him), then surely we are the losers." (Ch 12:11-14)

Jacob suggested a point, which had not occurred to them in their discussion: he feared that desert wolves would eat him! ithe wolves within them, or did he mean the wild wolves? No one but Allah knows. They coaxed their father to send Joseph with them; he agreed under their pressure.

They were excited that they could now get rid of Joseph for after this they could stand a better chance of receiving their father's affection. On leaving home, they went directly to the well, as they had planned, on the pretext of drinking water. One of them put his arms around Joseph and held him tightly. Startled by this unusual behavior, Joseph struggled to free himself. More brothers rushed to hold him. One of them removed his shirt. Some more joined in to lift Joseph up and cast him into the deep well. Joseph's piteous pleas made no difference to their cruel hearts.

Then Allah revealed to Joseph that he was safe and should not fear, for he would meet them again some day to remind them of what they had done.

There was water in the well, which buoyed Joseph's body, so he was not harmed. He sat lonely in the water, then clung to a rock ledge overheard and climbed on top of it. his brothers left him in this desolate place.

Then they killed a sheep and soaked Joseph's shirt in its blood. One brother said that they should swear to keep their deed a close secret. All of them took the oath.

And they came to their father in the early part of the night weeping. (Ch 12:16)

The scene here is dark night, broken by the crying of ten men. The father is sitting in his house when the sons enter, the darkness of night covering the darkness of their hearts and the darkness of their lies struggling to come out. Jacob wondered aloud:

"Why this weeping? Has anything happened to our flock?"
They answered crying:
"O our father! We went racing with one another, and left Joseph by our belongings and a wolf devoured him; but you will never believe us even when we speak the truth. (Ch 12:17)

"We were surprised after returning from the race that Joseph was in the belly of the wolf."

"We did not see him!"

"You will not believe us even though we are truthful! we are telling you what happened!"

"The wolf has eaten Joseph!"

"This is Joseph's shirt. We foiled it soiled with blood, and did not find Joseph!"

They brought his shirt stained with false blood. (Ch 12:18)

Deep down in the heart Jacob knew that his beloved son was still alive and that his other sons were lying. He held the blood stained in his hands, spread it out and remarked: "What a merciful wolf! he ate up my beloved son without tearing his shirt!" Their faces turned red when he demanded more information, but each swore by Allah that he was telling the truth. The brokenhearted father burst into tears:

"Nay! But your ownselves have made up a tale. So for me patience is more fitting. It is Allah Alone whose Help can be sought against that which you assert." (Ch 12:18)

The father acted wisely by praying for mighty patience, which is free of doubt, and by trusting in Allah for help against what they had plotted against him and his son. This scene dims, and the scene opens in the well with which Joseph had been thrown.

In the dark well Joseph managed to find a stone ledge to hold onto. Around him was total darkness and an eerie silence. Fearful thoughts entered his mind: what would happen to him? Where would he find food? Why had his own brothers turned against him? Would his father know of his plight? His father's smile flashed before him recalling the love and affection he had always shown him. Joseph began to pray earnestly, pleading to Allah for salvation. Gradually his fear began to subside. His Creator was testing the young man with a great misfortune in order to infuse in him a spirit of patience and courage. Joseph, surrended himself to the will of his Lord.

"Better give me a hand fellows! Looks like I found real treasure in the well!"

His companions rushed to the well and helped him to pull out the stranger holding onto the rope. Standing before them was a healthy, handsome youth, beaming with an angelic smile. They saw in him a handsome prize, for money was all that mattered to them. Immediately, they clapped iron shackles on his feet and took him along to Egypt, far away from his beloved homeland of Canaan.

All over the Egyptian city the news spread that an unusually handsome, robust young slave was on sale. People gathered by the hundreds at the slave market. some were spectators, others were bidders the elite and the rich, each one craning his neck to view the handsome specimen. the auctioneer had a field day as the bidding went wild, each buyer trying to outbid the other. Eventually, the Aziz, the chief minister of Egypt, outbid all the others and took Joseph to his mansion.

The Quran describes this scene as follows: And there came a caravan of travelers; they sent their water drawer, and he let down his bucket into the well. He said:

"What a good news! Here is a boy."
So they hid him as merchandise (a slave). And Allah was the All Knower of what they did.

They sold him for a low price, for a few Dhirhams (for a few silver coins). They were of those who regarded him insignificant.

he (the man) from Egypt who bought him said to his wife: "Make his stay comfortable, may be he will profit us or we shall ado[t him as a son." Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. (Ch 12:19-21)

See how Allah the Almighty reveals the substance of this long story from its beginning:

And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. (Ch 12:21)

The chains of slavery have closed on Joseph. He was cast into the well, deprived of his father, picked from the well, made a slave, sold at the market, and made the property of this man, the Aziz, the chief minister. The hazards followed in quick succession, leaving Joseph helpless.

What we see as hazards and slander is the first step of the ladder on Joseph's way to greatness. Allah is decisive in His action. His plan is carried out despite the plans of others and while theirs are still being made. So He spoils their plan, and Allah's promise is realized. Allah has promise Joseph prophethood. Love for Joseph was thrust into the heart of the man who bought him, and he was a man of no mean position. He was an important personage, one of the ruling class of Egypt.

Therefore, Joseph was pleasantly surprised when the chief minister of Egypt ordered his men to remove the heavy shackles from his swollen feet. He was also surprised when he told Joseph not to betray his trust; he would not be ill-treated if he behaved himself. Joseph smiled at his benefactor, thanked him, and promised to be loyal.

Joseph felt at ease, for at last he was sheltered and would be well cared for. He thanked Allah over and over and wondered at the mysterious of life. Not so long ago he had been cast into a deep, dark well with no hope of ever coming out alive. Next he was rescued, then enslaved in iron shackles, and now he was moving freely in a luxurious mansion with enough food to enjoy. However, his heart ached with longing for his parents and brother Benjamin, and he shed tears daily.

Joseph was made the personal attendant of the chief minister's wife. He was obedient and ever-obliging. With his pleasant manners and charming behavior, he won everybody's heart.

Joseph's handsomeness became the talk of the town. People referred to him as the most attractive man they had ever seen and wrote poetry about him. His face carried immaculate beauty. The purity of his inner soul and his heart showed in his face, increasing his beauty. People from afar came to the city to have a glimpse of him. The prettiest of maidens and the richest of ladiesnursthe to possess him, but not once did he show haughtiness or conceit. he was always humble and polite.

The days passed and Joseph grew. Almighty Allah said:

And when he (Joseph) attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge (the Prophethood), thus We reward the doers of good. (Ch 12:22)

He was given wisdom in affairs and knowledge of life and its conditions. He as given the art of conversation, captivating those who heard him. He was given nobility and self restraint, which made him an irresistible personality. His master soon knew that Allah had graced him with Joseph. He understood that Joseph was the most honest, straightforward and noble person he had met in his life. Therefore, he put Joseph in charge of his household, honored him, and treated him as a son.

The wife of the chief minister, Zulaikha, watched Joseph from day to day. She at with him, talked with him, listened to him, and her wonder increased over the passion of time.

Joseph was soon confronted (with his second trial). The chief minister's wife, Zulaikha could not resist the handsome Joseph, and her obsession with him caused her sleepless nights. She fell in love with him, and it was painful for her to be so close to a man, yet be unable to hold him. Yet, she was not a wayward woman, for in her position she could get any man she desired. By all accounts, she must have been a very pretty and intelligent lady, or why would the chief minister have chosen her of all the pretty women in the kingdom? Although she bore him no child, he would not take another wife, as he loved her passionately.

The Quran raises the curtain on the scene of this fierce and devouring love on the part of the lady. Allah the Almighty told us:

And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said: "come on, O you." He said: "I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! (So I will never betray him). Verily, the Zalimun (wrong, evildoers) will never be successful." Indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves. (Ch 12:23-24)

Commentators are unanimous about her intention of disobedience but disagree about his own intention. There are those who say that she tempted him and he tempted her to sin, although he did not follow through with his intent. Others say that she merely wanted him to kiss her, and he attempted to strike her. Yet others say that this anxiety had been there before this incident. There was a psychological disturbance in Joseph when he reached adolescence, which Almighty Allah rid him of.

The safest commentary for us is that there is temptation and resistance in the verse, for He Most High stated:

And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire... (Ch 12:24)

Abu Ubaidah said that this is a temptation and resistance meaning that she had tried to seduce him; had he not seen the proof of Allah, he would have been seduced. This is in keeping with the infallibility of prophets, as it suits the words, which immediately follow:

Thus it was that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves. (Ch 12:24)

This verse proves that Joseph was an upright worshipper of Allah; it also testifies to his rescue from the authority of Satan. The Almighty said to the devil (Iblis) on the Day of Creation:

"Certainly, you shall no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghawin (Mushrikeen, and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evildoers, etc)" (Ch 15:42)
Joseph's refusal only heightened her passion. As he moved to the door to escape, she ran after him and caught hold of his shirt, like a drowning person clinging to the boat. In her tugging she tore his shirt and held the torn piece in her hand. They reached the door together. It opened suddenly, there stood her husband and a relative of hers.

Almighty Allah said:

So they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back. They both found her lord (her husband) at the door. (Ch 12:25)

As he opened the door, he saw her husband standing in front of him. The sly woman immediately changed her tone to anger, and, showing the torn piece of the shirt in her hand, asked her husband:

"What is the recompense (punishment) for him who intended an evil design against your wife, except that he be put in prison or a painful torment?" (Ch 12:25)

She was now accusing Joseph of molesting her, to give the impression that she was innocent and a victim of Joseph's sexual desire. Though bewildered Joseph denied it:

"It was she that sought to seduce me." (Ch 12:26)

The shirt was passed from hand to hand, while she watched. The witness (her cousin) looked at it and found that it was torn at the back. The evidence showed that she was guilty. The disappointed husband remarked to his wife:

"Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is you plot!" (Ch 12:28)

The wise and just Aziz apologized to Joseph for his wife's indecency. He also instructed her to beg Joseph's forgiveness for accusing him falsely. Allah the Almighty narrated this incident thus:

He (Joseph) said: "It was she that sought to seduce me," and a witness of her household bore witness saying: "If it be that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true, and he is a liar! but if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then she has told a lie and he is speaking the truth!"

So when he (the husband) saw his (Joseph's) shirt was torn at the back; (her husband) said: "Surely, it is a plot of you women! certainly mighty is your plot! O Joseph! turn away from this! (O woman)! Ask forgiveness for your sin. Verily, you were of the sinful."(Ch 12:26-29 Quran).

An incident like this cannot remain a secret in a house filled with servants, and the story spread. Women began to see her behavior as scandalous. They remarked:

"The wife of Al-Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily, we see her in plain error." (Ch 12:30)

Naturally their gossip distressed Zulaikha. She honestly believed that it was not easy for any women to resist a man as handsome as Joseph. To prove her helplessness, she planned to subject the women to the same temptation she faced. She invited them to a lavish banquet. No one so invited would want to miss the honor of dining with the chief minister's wife; besides, they secretly harbored the desire to meet the handsome Joseph face to face. Some of her close friends jokingly said they would come only if she introduced them to Joseph.

The invitation was restricted to ladies. The banquet began, laughter and mirth abounded. Etiquette dictated that the ladies not mention the topic of Joseph. They were shocked, therefore, when Zulaikha opened the topic.

"I have heard of those who say I have fallen in love with the young Hebrew man, Joseph."
Silence fell upon the banquet. At once all the guests hands stopped, and all eyes fell on the chief minister's wife. She said, while giving orders for the fruit to be served:
"I admit that he is charming fellow. I do not deny that I love him. I have loved him for a long time."

The confession of the chief minister's wife removed the tension among the ladies. After finishing their dinner, the guests began cutting their fruit. At that very moment she summoned Joseph to make his appearance. He entered the hall gracefully, his gaze lowered. Zulaikha called him by his name and he raised his head. The guests were astonished and dumbfounded. His face was shining and full of mand angelic beauty. It reflected complete innocence, so much so that one could feel the peace of mind in the depth of his soul.

They exclaimed in astonishment while continuing to cut the fruit. All their eyes were on Joseph. So it was that the women began to cut their palms absent mindly without feeling that they had cut them.

The presence of Joseph at the scene of drama was so effective that blflowedwithouttheir feeling pain. One of the ladies gasped:

"Good gracious!"

Another whispered:

"This is not a mortal being!"
Another stammered, patting her hair:
"This is but a noble angel."

Then the chief minister's wife stood up and announced:

"This is the one for whom I have been blamed. I do not deny that I tempted him. You have been enchanted by Joseph, and see what has happened to your hands. I have tempted him, and if he does not do what I want of him he shall be imprisoned."

Almighty Allah related the scene of the banquet in His words:

So when she heard of their accusation, she sent for them and prepared a banquet for them; she gave each one of them a knife (to cut the foodstuff with), and she said (to Joseph): "Come out before them." Then, when they saw him, they exalted him (at his beauty) and (in their astonishment) cut their hands. They said: "how perfect is Allah (or Allah forbid)! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!"

She said: "This is he (the young man) about whom you did blame me (for his love) and I did seek to seduce him, but he refused. And now if he refuses to obey my order, he shall certainly be cast into prison, and will be one of those who are disgraced."

He said: "O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do deeds of the ignorants."

So his Lord answered his inovocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily he is the All Hearer, the All Knower. (Ch 12:31-34)

That evening, Zulaikha convinced her husband that the only way to save her honor was to put Joseph in prison; otherwise she would not be able to control herself or to safeguard his prestige. The chief minister knew Joseph was absolutely innocent, that he was a young man of honor, a loyal servant, and he loved him for these reasons. It was not an easy decision for him to put an innocent man behind bars. However, he was left with no choice. He reasoned that Joseph's honor would also be safeguarded if he was kept out of Zulaikha's sight. That night, with a heavy heart, the chief minister sent Joseph to prison.



The Mazar of Hazrat Yousuf (Joseph) is located in the city of Nablus or Shechem. The older, Ottoman-era tomb was replaced by Israeli authorities, and the Israeli site was attacked by Palestinians during the Intifada.


According to some traditions, these are the Mazarat of brothers of Hazrat Yousuf (Joseph) (Peace be upon him). Only the main dome is now intact. Beneath it is a triple mihrab surrounded with Fatimid-style calligraphy and decoration. Some evidence of a burial site is extant just to the west of the dome. The site is located in the Southern Cemetery in Cairo just north of the Lu'lu' Mosque.









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